One of the highest ranked prospects on the regional scene, Cleveland McLean (14-9), returns to the Combat Night cage to take on Shojin Miki (7-7) at Combat Night Tallahassee this Saturday night.
The 32-year-old is nothing short of a tenured veteran on the Florida regional landscape. According to Tapology, McLean is the #2 ranked flyweight in the Southeast region behind only Juan Puerta, who will likely graduate from the rankings following his DWCS bout later this fall. Cleveland McLean is a tough test for anyone who steps in with him. His experience and resilience is difficult for opponents to deal with and his skillset is up there with some of the regional scenes best. Ultimately, his goal is to get to the next level as soon as possible.
“I want to get to the next level and fight for a big promotion,” he said. “That is the goal right now.”
McLean is on a bit of a tear at the moment, winning back-to-back fights in 2021 and being victorious in four of his last five bouts. His lone loss came by way of controversial split decision in a bout with current Titan FC flyweight champion, Victor Dias. This loss left a bad taste in his mouth as he expected to be the victor. He would love to get the chance to redeem himself if the timing is right.
“I wanted to run that back right after the decision,” he explained. “I really feel like I won that fight, but I should’ve had a better mindset.”
The 25-fight veteran has had many ups and downs in his career however, he is without a doubt at the top of his game at the moment. There really isn’t a notable weakness in McLean’s game; he’s beyond prepared for just about every situation possible. One his strengths is his boxing and kickboxing. In his bout with Dias, his counter punching and combos parlayed with his level-changing kicks kept him in that fight. His last bout was totally opposite. He and Federico Vento traded takedown attempts, McLean getting the better of them, and made it a battle of gas tanks. After a close first round, he came out strong in the second, getting an early takedown and seeking submissions. In the end, McLean found his way to the back of Vento and ended his night with ground-and-pound.
McLean has been sharpening his tools at one of the more underrated gyms in Florida, Fusion Excel Performance. The gym is home to many UFC names including BJJ legend, Rodolfo Vieira, “Platinum” Mike Perry and Philip Rowe. The depth at the gym is considerably underappreciated as they have a ton of quality martial artists on the regional scene. The coaching is something at Fusion Excel that shouldn’t go unnoticed. Coach Julien Williams and, boxing coach, James “JT” Taylor are two coaches McLean spoke highly of.
“JT and Julien Williams are different from others, but great MMA coaches,” said McLean. “This is the best gym in Central Florida.”
Cleveland McLean will matchup with a guy who represents Hawaiian toughness as best as possible, in Shojin Miki. Miki and McLean were originally scheduled to meet up last month at Combat Night: Clash of Titans 5 however, the bout was cancelled. Miki ended up taking a fight at Titan FC 71, on 24 hour’s notice, on August 6th against a highly touted flyweight prospect in Adrian Garcia. Although Miki didn’t get the outcome he wanted, he proved his toughness.
Going in to the fight, McLean expects to be better than Miki everywhere. He steps in with a considerable experience advantage and anticipates putting Miki is bad position threatening to end his night. There are many ways McLean sees himself getting it done however, he fully expects to finish this fight.
“I know we aren’t on the same level,” he said. “I want to finish him on the feet. There’s no way it gets out of the second round.”
Cleveland McLean has been a name to watch out for, on the regional scene, for quite a while now. He can talk a big game, but will absolutely back it up. On Saturday night, his lone goal is to put on a show for the fans and extend his win streak to three with a statement win over Shojin Miki.
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